Dr. Weil explains if you should take vitamins and dietary supplements.
Supplements are not substitutes for the whole foods that contain them.
At best they are partial representations of the whole complex of elements that nature provides, especially in fruits and vegetables. And taking diets or these supplements does not excuse you from eating a good diet.
However, I think that supplements can be useful as insurance against gaps in the diet.
I grow a lot of my own food. I cook for myself. I am a very careful shopper and eater, and I also take a good daily multivitamin, multi-mineral for just the reason that I said because the body needs these micronutrients and the oxidants in the right doses every day.
And for one reason or another on some days I don’t eat the fruits and vegetables that I should, whether it’s because I am traveling or whatever, and taking a multivitamin, multi-mineral is insurance against that.
Now I think you have to do some homework about that, you know you need to find out what are the right doses and forms of micronutrients.
In my book “Healthy Aging” and on my website drweil.com there’s a lot of information about this. I tell people how to read labels of multivitamin products to know whether you are getting what you really want.
I think it’s a good idea to take these supplements with meals, not necessarily breakfast, you know some people will eat a cup of coffee and a dry bagel and a vitamin pill.
That’s a recipe for indigestion and you also are not going to absorb the fat-soluble micronutrients, which include some of the key antioxidants.
So in general, it’s best to take vitamin products and supplements with a large meal.
About Dr. Weil, M.D.:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., was born in Philadelphia in 1942, received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked a year with the National Institute of Mental Health before writing his first book, The Natural Mind. From 1971-75, as a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled widely in North and South America and Africa collecting information on drug use in other cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative methods of treating disease. From 1971-84 he was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.